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Name: Alice Keogh

Student Number: 111411708


Module Title: Project Management (MG4004)
Date of Submission: 12th December 2014
Title: Individual learning journal

Bibliography
1. B Baroudi, I Pant, 2008. Project management education: The human skills imperative.
International Journal of Project Management, [online] 26, 124-128. Available at https://uccie.blackboard.com/bbcswebdav/pid-159374-dt-content-rid-320937_1/courses/2015MG4004/Pant%20and%20Baroudi_2008_Project%20education.pdf [Accessed 01 December
2014]
2. Morris, P. & Jamieson, A. (2005) Moving from Corporate Strategy to Project Strategy,
Project Management Institute, 36, pp. 5-18.
3. Larson, E. & Gray, C. (2011) Project Management the Managerial Process, 5th edn,
McGraw-Hill: New York.
4. Bauer, T, 2011. Organizational Structure. International Journal of Project Management,
[online]. 1, chapter 14. Available at:
http://www.peoi.org/Courses/Coursesen/orgbeh1/contents/frame14a.html [Accessed 01
December 2014]

Activity 1
A day in the life
This case study allows an insight into the working day of full time Project Manager Rachel. It
describes her activities throughout the day from times of arrival, to emailing, to socialising.
Initially I was under the impression that Rachel could be doing her job more efficiently. I had
the opinion that she was taking too long to complete tasks, and the spare time she had was
wasted on activities like gossiping, loitering, and taking too much personal time during work
hours.
However after the class discussion on the case study my opinion on Rachel changed. The
reasoning behind all of her inefficient actions were made apparent. In particular I thought
Rachel joining in on the office gossip was definitely not something a project manager should
be doing. It was pointed out in the group discussion that office gossip is in fact a great way of
finding out information. Sometimes a piece of office information may not be appropriate to
send via email, e.g. in Rachels case she is told of a rumour that a team member is using
stimulants on the job. This is something that most likely would never have been
communicated through email as it would seem to official and formal, despite it being
information that Rachel should be aware of. Personally I have had similar experiences in the
workplace. Having worked in the English Market in Cork city I once casually mentioned to
my manager how I heard a live debate about the markets fresh produce between two other
stall owners on the radio the day before. Because they had been working at the time neither
my manager, nor the stall owner, were aware of the situation and immediately called a
meeting with other owners on the premises to try to counteract the bad press the market had
received as a result of this radio debate. This gossiping proved to be hugely beneficial.
Another aspect of the case study I initially had a problem with was Rachels time
management. I felt she was wasting valuable working time by strolling around the office and
taking too many breaks. Again though, after the class discussion, I realised that its not good
for a project manager to stay in their office all day. They should not be managing from the
computer, but doing what Rachel does and communicating with her team regularly. People
skills are an important part of being a project manager and Rachel demonstrates these skills
by checking up on her colleagues throughout the day. A great example of this is when Rachel
initiates conversation with members of her project team which leads onto identifying a
common problem team members are having with their clients.

I feel like Rachel has many different beneficial elements to her job that dont come with any
official guidance e.g. gossiping and having lunch with colleagues. These soft skills have been
learned from experience rather than academic sources and these kind of casual encounters
positively affected her team and project. Pant and Baroudi (2008) 1 state that the human skills
of project managers have the greatest influence on project management practices and
technical skills the least. For this reason I would be interested in having her role as a Project
manager for a period of time. I think that the learnings that could be gained from the
experience would have a positive influence for any other managerial role I was to occupy in
my future career.
Activity 2
Film Prioritization
This case study required me to analyse six different films under certain criteria. The company
had three must objectives and seven want objectives that were to be met. This analysis
would result in the choosing of the most suitable film for the company in question.
To determine which film was most suitable I had to use a project priority system. When using
the system outline provided I felt that it was not efficient way to make an important decision.
The system was easily manipulated as some questions were a matter of opinion rather than
based on factual information e.g. the must need that was Be nominated for Best Picture of
the Year. A film that I thought had a high chance of a nomination may only have been so
because it was a topic that interested me personally.
After a class discussion I found that many people agreed about the lack of consistency within
the system. Morris and Jamieson2 quote Archer & Ghasemzadeh as stressing that Portfolio
management is pre-eminently about selecting or prioritising the best projects or
programmes to proceed with. This method certainly narrowed down options for the
B Baroudi, I Pant, 2008. Project management education: The human skills imperative.
International Journal of Project Management, [online] 26, 124-128. Available at https://uccie.blackboard.com/bbcswebdav/pid-159374-dt-content-rid-320937_1/courses/2015MG4004/Pant%20and%20Baroudi_2008_Project%20education.pdf [Accessed 01 December
2014]
1

2 Morris, P. & Jamieson, A. (2005) Moving from Corporate Strategy to Project Strategy, Project
Management Institute, 36, pp. 5-18.

company to choose from as following class discussion it was revealed that most of the class
chose either film 3 or 4, which was in keeping with my own decision of film 4 as the winner.
Although I think this is a useful method to start prioritising with I would not personally use it
to determine a final decision within a project.

Activity 3
Manchester United Soccer Club
This case study highlighted the difficulties of Nicolette. Nicolette is a soccer mom who
tasked with the organising of the local soccer tournament. The first meeting she held resulted
in causing stress rather than resolving it. There was no structure to the brainstorming session
and so Nicolette ended up with 7 sheets of unorganised ideas.
The assignment required me to make a WBS. This would allow me to structure Nicolettes
thoughts into an organised manner. I had no issues identifying the major deliverables but
dividing these down again into subcomponents I found challenging as I was unsure how
specific I should be. My first level of detail included 5 deliverables: teams, referees, venue,
prizes and sponsors. I was aware that in my next level of detail I needed to state what each
named category was to accomplish and so identified these tasks in my subcomponents, for
example I felt that for every team entered in the competition there should be at least 2
qualified 1st members present. Finals figures would be decided when registration for the event
was closed.
Soccer Tournament
Teams

Team: 1st
aid

Venue
(pitches)

Referee
s
Entrance
Designate
to pitches

Sponsors

Prizes

3
Trophi

Medals

Figure 1: The WBS I created for this case study.


While discussing activity 3 in class we were given an example of a WBS. This example
included similar deliverables to mine at the first level of detail. After examining the sample

WBS I had a much clearer understanding of how to do break down major deliverables into
subcomponents.
Larson & Gray3 discuss how a WBS facilitates evaluation of cost, time and technical
performance at all levels in the organisation over the life of the project. I feel like a WBS is
definitely essential to create in order to achieve these things. By clarifying what needs to be
done the WBS ensures that the tasks will be carried out in an efficient manner, and I think
Nicolette will benefit hugely from implementing the structure.
There are aspects if planning in every job and so I think this particular case study was
relevant to me and my future career. There is difficulties in creating the structure but I think
the more I use it the easier it will become to identify the necessary deliverables and to what
extent of detail.

Activity 4
Moss and McAdams Accountants
The main idea of this case study was to highlight the issues that can arise when implementing
a matrix structure, to carry out a project within a competitive work environment and observe
what problems may occur. This activity focuses on the disadvantages of the matrix structure
rather than the advantages.
I found the situation within the company to be more complicated than it should be. Flexibility
is key when working under this kind of structure but Palmer and Crosby allowed this
flexibility to create a competitive element to their work, which evidently only detracted from
their individual focuses.
By allowing Olds to work on two projects he was ultimately delaying both. I believe that
Sands is at fault for allowing this to happen in the first place. Olds is a valuable employee but
I feel he shouldnt have been so heavily relied on by both managers.
Palmer was having problems with the situation from the very first week. This should have
been an indicator to him that the projects progress was at risk, and that this would have been
a good time to voice any concerns of his.
3 Larson, E. & Gray, C. (2011) Project Management the Managerial Process, 5th edn, McGraw-Hill:
New York.

In order to avoid losing Olds Palmer could have suggested that rather than go to Crosby in
the morning he went in the afternoon. This would solve the issue of Olds not being able to
focus on the audit, as he wouldnt be thinking about the consulting issues that were causing
his distraction. A common disadvantage within the matrix structure is lack of commitment.
This is certainly true for Olds as he wasnt able to fully dedicate himself to either project.
After the class discussion I found that the majority of my initial reaction was in line with the
rest of my peers. An issue I had not considered was that perhaps the work environment was
too competitive to begin with. Palmer and Crosby should have been working to find a
solution rather than coming at the problem from an aggressive stance.
Personally I would not like to work within a matrix structure. I feel it creates a more trusting
work environment when there is a clear and structured line of command. When working at
the deli in a Mace convenient store I found it easy to resolve product related problems I was
having by talking to my supervisor, however in regards to calling in sick or asking for days
off it was without doubt that I contact my manager instead. Every role had a clear purpose in
the hierarchical structure and any issues were resolved very quickly. If a matrix structure
been used in Mace I would have found it very confusing and would have been unsure as to
which query should be directed where. Bauer feels the matrix organization violates the unity
of command4 and I have to agree. Its important in any organisation to share the workload
and resources but for Palmer and Crosby this lack hierarchy caused friction.
Activity 5
Western Oceanography Institute
This case study highlights the importance of having social and people skills in order to be
successful in a job, not just the technical and efficient expertise that are required. We are
given details of the first few months of Astrid Youngs career move to the Western
Oceanography Institute (WOI) where as the IS director at the institute she was managing a
conversion project from Windows 95 to Windows NT.

Bauer, T, 2011. Organizational Structure. International Journal of Project Management,


[online]. 1, chapter 14. Available at:
http://www.peoi.org/Courses/Coursesen/orgbeh1/contents/frame14a.html [Accessed 01
December 2014]
4

Young suggested a system overhaul and reassured those with concerns that it would be a
simple transition without problems. However she underestimated the disruption caused by the
project and it ultimately ended in disaster.
To begin with I thought that the project would prove to be a success. I felt the initial time
delays were to be somewhat expected considering that many of the workforce were not
competent with even a basic knowledge of technology and there was a low response to emails
and meetings. Due to the technical nature of the project, and that many staff felt it was an
unnecessary project, people in the office appeared to have little patience for Young and her
team.
Larson & Gray (2011)5 state that to be successful, project managers must build a cooperative network among a diverse set of allies. Youngs project would have benefited
hugely if she had participated in staff activities and got to know the key people in
management. Had Young befriended her colleagues by attending lunches and meetings etc.
they most likely would have been more accommodating for her project. Instead they viewed
her as an unfriendly loner who was trying to bring unnecessary change to the office.
Another problem experienced was how despite Young promising the old and new programs
were very similar, and compatible with already installed software it was not. This proved
irritating and time consuming for all parties involved. Young should have conducted her
research better and insured that the information she was relaying to staff was accurate.
Young should address these issues when responding to the director. She needs to explain her
side of the problem but do so without diverting the blame from herself. As project manager
she needs to accept both the positive and negative responsibilities that come with the
position. Young should have foreseen delays and had multiple contingency plans if she
wanted the project to run smoothly. I feel that because of the outcome of the project Young
has possibly tarnished her reputation permanently within in the company. Had I been a
member of staff affected by her incompetence I would find it difficult to trust any future
projects she and her team of students were involved in.
This case study is similar to a role I worked in. When working in Super Valu, Merchants
Quay the system changed from manual tills to electronic ones with touchscreens. The
5 Larson, E. & Gray, C. (2011) Project Management the Managerial Process, 5th edition, McGrawHill: New York.

majority of staff was made up of older, middle aged people who were not as familiar with
technology as myself. Responding to this unfamiliarity the project team organised two
consecutive half day training sessions. All members of staff were required to attend and the
different dates and times of the sessions ensured that all staff were accommodated for. These
sessions were followed by a questions and answers meeting a few days later. This allowed us
to raise any problems we were having with the new tills and the project team addressed them
immediately at the meeting. This system changeover was efficient and without delay due to
the communication and positive relationships among the staff, unlike that in Youngs
situation.